Child Orthopedics

Frequently Asked Questions

Our seven-year old son has been diagnosed with Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease. X-rays show his bone growth is delayed. Will he eventually catch up again?

Legg-Calvé-Perthes disease is a problem that affects the hip in children between the ages of four and eight. The condition was named after the three physicians who each separately described the disease.

In this condition, the blood supply to the growth center of the hip is disturbed, causing the bone in this area to die. The blood supply eventually returns, and the bone heals. Each of these steps in the process is labeled as a stage of the disease from one through four.

Delays in bone maturation are common in this condition. How the bone heals determines how much problem the condition will cause in later life. Earlier and greater delays predict poorer outcomes. If no delays are seen in Stage I of the disease, then a milder form of disease is expected.

By stage four, healing occurs and the blood supply is restored to the hip. The bone usually matures and catches up to the chronological (actual) age of the child. Your physician may be able to use X-rays of your son to make some predictions of future outcomes.

Sung-Tae Lee, MD, PhD, et al. Bone Age Delay Patterns in Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease. In Journal of Pediatric Orthopaedics. March 2007. Vol. 27. No. 2. Pp. 198-203.

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